Plumbiferous Media

Wait for Me – Moby

Jul 5th 2009
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Wait for Me - MobyMoby
Wait for Me
Score: 96

Moby (real name Richard Melville Hall) has been making music for over 20 years, becoming increasingly popular as time goes on. His music falls within the category of “electronic,” but it is clearly influenced by a huge number of other music genres, from rock to spiritual to folk to post-rock. His ninth LP, Wait for Me, recorded in his bedroom studio, excellently displays his musical skill and creativity.

Moby’s work is often highly minimalist, and as such, the music is not only found in the repetitive strings of miniature melodies, but often more prominently in the slight, but beautiful changes between each repetition. On Wait for Me, Moby performs these changes well and just often enough that the naturally repetitive music never even threatens to become uninteresting. The detail evident in everything Moby does instead provides points of interest, and while sometimes the percussive sounds become a little odd, the strings and guitar are always used perfectly.

But while every track can easily be considered excellent, the track that most clearly demonstrates Moby’s musical knowledge is “Stock Radio,” which begins with a single tone that fades in and out. The harmonics the tone naturally creates become gradually more apparent, and Moby begins to play with the harmonics, drawing them into their own pseudo-melodies, and the utterly simple track becomes incredibly beautiful. “Scream Pilots” also demonstrates Moby’s musical skill by using two guitar lines that play expertly off one another. Finally, although the second to last track could have worked as a perfect ending to the album, it is followed by “Isolate,” which is the only track of the album to use pitch bending as one of the important points of interest.

Each of the vocal lines on Wait for Me is imbued with the same unearthly quality as the music itself, creating a fully immersive, ethereal sound. On the tracks where they exist, the expertly crafted vocals intertwine with the melodies, rather than distract the listener from the rest of the music. The manner in which this occurs varies somewhat between the vocalists – but each, from the airy sound of “Division” to the orator of “Study War,” is expertly twisted into the music in a beautifully cohesive way. Several of the vocal lines approach a spiritual-like aesthetic, while Moby’s own voice on tracks such as “Mistake” seems closer to rock music. On Wait for Me, Moby has used his considerable experience to make all of these vocal lines fit together in an eminently masterful manner.

Though much of Wait for Me is instrumental, the parts which do include lyrics exhibit the same amount of care as is put into the rest of the album. The lyrical lines largely rely upon repetition, but as both the content of the lines themselves and their sound has obviously been carefully considered, the overall effect from this repetition is quite good, such that, as in much of Moby’s earlier work, the lyrics serve as both an extension of the music and as a musical line itself. From the impassioned requests to “Put me on the train / Send me back to my home” to the description of a lover as “So pale, so lovely / Your eyes black like ice,” the lyrics of Wait for Me add an additional layer of emotion to an already sublimely emotional album.

One of the most exceptionally brilliant elements of Wait for Me is Moby’s incorporation of many genres into the album, and even multiple genres into single tracks. While the album obviously has its minimalist grounding and noticeable classical influence, the album contains far more than just those two genres. “Shot in the Back of the Head”‘s drum and guitar lines push the track towards a post-rock feel, while “Walk with Me” retains its spiritual influence. Though “Mistake” begins with strings, it later channels rock heavily. And while the title track has elements that belong to both folk and spiritual, the end uses percussion that somehow makes the track begin to sound industrial.

But even through multiple genres, tracks always transition into each other perfectly, always providing a welcome contrast while at the same time never creating too jarring a change. On Wait for Me, Moby has written excellent transitions, excellent melodies and lines, has recognized that vocals do not always need to be present (or when present, the most important line), and has used what amount to simple lyrics on a very complex album amazingly. Wait for Me may not be absolutely perfect, but it certainly got very close.

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